Department of Earth Sciences

An integrated approach toward understanding our planet

In studying the system Earth and other planets, the Earth Sciences contribute to answers on social and economic questions that concern: 

  • the natural means of existence (water, energy, raw materials),
  • the terrestrial environment (including remediation of pollutions),
  • natural hazards (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods),
  • and the use of terrestrial space (specifically near surface and underground space).

The Earth Sciences integrate the principles and methods of physics, chemistry, geology, biology, mathematics, and computational sciences. We specifically develop new scientific hypotheses, methods of data analyses, and experimental and observational techniques that enable us to reconstruct and predict the interactive behaviour of the solid Earth, the biosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere, on scales ranging from seconds to billions of years, and from nanometers to the entire globe. We honour James Hutton’s early insight that "from what has actually been, we have data for concluding with regard to that which is to happen thereafter".

International center of excellence

The Department of Earth Sciences is the largest academic Earth Sciences institute in the Netherlands, and among the larger ones in Europe. Over recent decades, its staff of 175 to 200 researchers and Ph.D students has created an international centre of excellence in scientific research and research training that actively contributes  to addressing the challenges we face in developing a modern, sustainable society.

The national focal point of Earth Sciences

Utrecht is the national focal point of Earth Sciences in The Netherlands. At Utrecht University research groups from the Faculty of Geosciences and the Faculty of Sciences study a large spectrum of topics concerning the solid Earth, its hydrosphere, its biosphere and its atmosphere. Key national applied research institutes, including the Geological Survey of the  Netherlands (TNO) and the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI) are located on campus or in the nearby area, which stimulates collaboration and strengthens the quality of research and education.

News

Wentao Huang
13 April 2015
PhD research by Utrecht University’s Wentao Huang shows that the Himalayan continental collision began 52 million years ago.
Jorien Vonk
8 April 2015
Permafrost thaw causes a positive feedback loop and accelerates global warming, Jorien Vonk concludes in Nature.
Gert de Lange
19 February 2015
The Geochemical Society and European Association of Geochemistry have announced Prof. Gert de Lange one of the 2015 Geochemical Fellows.
Prof. dr. Sierd Cloetingh
18 February 2015
On 17 February the European Research Council announced the appointment of Professor Sierd Cloetingh of Utrecht University as its vice president.

Pages

RSS

Department of Earth Sciences